Colors of Goodbye: A memoir of holding on, letting go, and reclaiming joy in the wake of loss
Publisher's Description: Before May 31, 2008, September Vaudrey’s life was beautiful. But on that day, with one phone call from the ER, her whole world—everything she knew and believed—was shaken to the core. Katie, her 19-year-old artist daughter, had been in a car accident and would not survive. How does a family live in the wake of devastating tragedy? When darkness colors every moment, is it possible to find light? Can God still be good, even after goodbye?
Combining literary narrative and raw reflection, September Vaudrey walks through one of life’s worst losses―the death of a child. It’s a story of love and tragedy in tandem; a deeply personal memoir from a life forever changed by one empty place. And at its core, Colors of Goodbye calls to the deepest part of our spirits to know that death is not the end, and that life can be beautiful still.
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What People Are Saying
This book is a love letter, but it’s also a map: Here is a way through. Not around the grief, not hiding from the pain, but right on through the center of the journey—loss, heartbreak, joy, new life, memories, mistakes, celebrations—all of it. This book is a map for many of us who have been lost in the wilderness of grief of one kind or another. This beautiful book is a hand reaching into the darkness, a voice whispering, I know the way home.
Shauna Niequist, author of Savor and Bread & Wine
This book is a lifeline of hope when you are drowning in sorrow. In forty years of pastoring, I have never seen a family grieve the loss of a child so thoroughly and transparently or with such faith. I urged September to share her story for those of us who need to find a better way to grieve. You will be marked by her journey—and its ultimate message of joy.
Bill Hybels, founder and senior pastor, Willow Creek Community Church
I need to know, deep in the sinews of my soul, that death doesn’t have the final word. I try to ignore death—my own—but I am even more committed to hiding from the potential loss of those I desperately love. September Vaudrey and her family suffered a loss most of us can’t imagine. She enters it with intense honesty and writes with the lyric power of a poet. She invites us to sing hope in the minor key. I could not read her stunning and beautiful prose without believing even more that death doesn’t win. I wish you the courage to read this holy labor and prize the radical hope it will call you to hold.
Dan B. Allender, PhD, professor of counseling psychology and founding president, The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology
Agonizing and heartrending and poignant as grief, grateful and faithful and tender as new love, these words and this story have in them the power to name what cannot be named and to bring life where it seems life could not be again.
John Ortberg, senior pastor, Menlo Church; best-selling author of many books, including All the Places to Go
May 31, 2008, changed everything for everyone who knew and loved Katie Vaudrey. Colors of Goodbye brings you into the precious, raw, honest, defining journey of the soul as uninvited, irreversible, and horrific circumstances invade the Vaudrey family—and they begin the trek to rebuild their lives. I see and love Jesus more deeply today because of this story. You will too.
Santiago "Jimmy" Mellado, president and CEO, Compassion International
I was scared to open this book because I knew that its pages held the story of a mother who was living my worst nightmare: the loss of a child. But once I started reading, I was swept into a captivating, hopeful, and exquisitely written story. I could not put it down. Colors of Goodbye is a deeply moving memoir that will inspire you and awaken your heart to the goodness of God, even in the midst of your darkest hour.
Jennifer Dukes Lee, author of Love Idol
You Belong: 52 Stories to Strengthen Your Purpose, Faith & Relationships
I had the privilege of writing one of the chapters for this book, produced by the 2016 Women of Faith BELONG tour and featuring Jen Hatmaker, Shauna Niequist, Nicole Nordeman, Sharon Irving, Angela Davis, and Patsy Clairmont. My chapter, which focuses on identity and belonging, is titled, "Who Am I Now?"
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